By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
A senator is seeking to regulate class size in all public schools and grant additional compensation to teachers handling large classes.
Senate Bill No. 1190, or the proposed Class Size Act, was filed by Senator Grace Poe to ensure access to quality education amid the growing student population.
In her bill, Poe said public elementary classrooms in the Philippines are the most crowded in Asia, with an average class size of 43.9, compared Malaysia’s 31.7, Thailand’s
22.9, Japan’s 28.6 and India’s 40.
In public secondary schools, the country registered an
average size of 56.1, which was higher than Malaysia’s 34, Thailand’s 41.5, Japan’s 33.9 and India’s 39.
Citing studies, Poe said elementary schools with large classes were found to be detrimental to student learning.
She added that oversized public school classes also deny teachers just compensation and humane working conditions.
“This practice of assigning oversized classes to teachers without extra pay is one instance where they are overworked yet unpaid,” she said.
Smaller class sizes, on the other hand, saw “positive and sometimes enduring effects on student achievement, especially for ethnic minority students and students from socioeconomic status groups,” Poe noted.
She said this is “because there is a greater opportunity
for individual interaction between student and teacher in a small class.”
Under SB 1190, a teacher shall handle a standard class size of 35 students. Any class exceeding 35 students up to 50 students shall be considered a “large class”.
The bill prohibits a class size in excess of 50 students.
For teachers handling large classes, a “large class honorarium” equivalent to one percent of her daily rate for every student in excess of the standard class size shall be given.
This formula shall apply to all classes assigned to the teacher during the school year.
The Department of Education shall be mandated to implement this if signed into law.
Poe proposed a P5-billion fund for the initial implementation of the measure. Funds necessary for its continued rollout shall be included in the DepEd’s annual budget.